Whether you’re running Kali Linux or Penetration testing, it’s important to use a laptop that can take on hardcore computing without getting bogged down. Talking about hardcore computing, below is a comprehensive review of the best laptops for Kali Linux. We’ve tried to include laptops of different price ranges so everyone can find something great irrespective of budget-limits.
|Laptop Model||Weight||Storage||Screen Size|
|Apple MacBook Pro||6.40 lbs||512 GB||13 inches|
|Acer Predator Helios 300||5.95 lbs||256 GB||15.6 inches|
|Dell Inspiron i5577||5.66 lbs||512 GB||15.6 inches|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y520||5.21 lbs||512 GB||15.3 inches|
|Acer Aspire E 15||5.27 lbs||1 TB||15.6 inches|
1. Apple MacBook Pro
There’s no doubt that the MacBook Pro is the most powerful laptop around. Therefore, you can comfortably use it to run Kali Linux smoothly.
The machine comes with a 16GB DDR3 memory and a 512GB SSD. With the minimum recommended Kali RAM requirements being at 4GB, we think the MacBook is way above what’s needed.
Above all, the MacBook Pro comes with an Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor. Of course, this is also above and beyond what you need for Kali Linux since our minimum recommended processor is at Core i3.
So, despite its hefty price tag, this is a laptop you really don’t want to miss out on. So, if you can afford to cough out in excess of $2,000, you’d be in luck to own one of these.
Its manufacturer, Apple, has provided a highly powerful graphics tool known as Radeon Pro 560 to go with this laptop. Although we think Radeon Pro 560 isn’t a match for what some gaming laptops offer, it surely goes a long way in streamlining graphics related tasks.
Yet another awesome feature of the Pro is its fan noise. Although the noise of the fan rises slightly when performing hardcore tasks, the system largely remains cool.
One challenge you’re likely to find with other laptops, particularly Lenovo ones is the inadequacy of USB ports. Luckily, this Macbook provides you with 4 USB ports. In fact, all of the 4 are USB Type-C. As you know, Type-C USBs come in handy in ethical hacking.
What about UX? We can confidently confirm that this machine offers a pretty good package here as well. It comes with a butterfly keyboard complete with a giant trackpad. The trackpad is quite convenient and easy to use.
Also, the laptop provides you with a 15-inch display and a powerful resolution of 2880×1800. Not many laptops have that kind of resolution. So, we think this is one of the best displays you can ever invest in.
Its battery life is also great. Ordinarily, the battery lasts for up to 10 hours but that falls to 3 hours when running Kali.
- Excellent case quality
- Superb battery life (3 hours on Kali)
- Overall smooth operation
- Quite pricey
2. Acer Predator Helios 300 VR Ready with Metal Chassis
The Acer Helios 300 costs less than 50% the price of the MacBook Pro but offers a highly competitive package. First off, because this is also a gaming laptop, it comes with a GTX 1060 graphics card. As you might be aware, the Radeon Pro 560 is no match for the GTX 1060 card. So, if you’re looking for a laptop with the most superior graphics card, we’d recommend the Helios 300.
Perhaps one of the areas that the Helios 300 lags behind is storage. The machine comes with a 256GB SSD storage but with a 2.5-inch slot which you can use to add an extra SDD or hard drive.
But no one can beat this gaming machine when it comes to RAM and processor speed. For instance, it comes with a 16GB DDR4 RAM which is way beyond the minimum recommended 4GB for running Kali Linux.
In fact, you can always upgrade the RAM to 32GB. On top of that, this machine comes with Intel Core i7-7700HQ. How cool is that?
In other words, you can run Kali on this machine and you won’t even notice any fan noise or heating issues.
The biggest weakness with the Acer Helios 300 is its battery life. Ordinarily, this laptop’s battery can last for up to 4 hours. That, however, falls to about 1 hour when using Kali.
So, much as it’s a cheap and feature-rich gaming laptop that can be used to run Kali, we think it might disappoint you, especially when operating far away from a power plug.
Also, we think this laptop is quite heavy and bulky. Therefore, it’s not the best bet for anyone looking for a highly portable alternative.
Other than that, everything about it seems perfectly fine.
- Fantastic build quality
- Great and smooth performance
- Powerful graphics card
- Poor battery life
- Heavy and bulky design
3. Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS with Intel Core i7
The i5577 from Dell isn’t just a great laptop for data science but also a perfectly reliable bet for Kali Linux and Pentesting in general. Why so? Because first of all, it comes with a 15.6-inch display which is bright and with great color accuracy.
Small qualms with the otherwise perfect display would be that it’s quite limited in terms of viewing angles. This is, however, not such a big deal unless you’re really choosy.
Moving on, the Inspiron comes with a 512GB SSD storage. This is extremely fast and actually outperforms machines with SATA 3 SDDs.
We really like the fact that this rig boots pretty fast. In fact, it boots in less than 10 seconds. Its 16GB RAM makes it a beast of sorts. In fact, you can use it for multitasking and sure enough, you won’t have to break a sweat.
Still, think that a 16GB RAM isn’t enough for you? Well, the good news is that you can always upgrade that thanks to an extra slot provided on this laptop.
With such a powerful RAM and Intel i7 processor, one would expect this machine to be the fastest Kali Linux laptop – but that isn’t the case. Different people have complained of bloatware issues on the i5577.
For that reason, we’d recommend having a fresh OS installation done once you receive it. Alternatively, if you know how to, you can disable the bloatware to unlock a great performance.
When it comes to the graphics card, the Dell Inspiron comes with a GTX 1050 graphics card. That’s a lower cadre card compared to the Acer Helios which comes with a GTX 1060 card.
You can use this for basic stuff for Chrome, Youtube, and Netflix and it will give you up to 8 hours of battery life. However, when using it for hardcore stuff, you can expect it to deliver around 3 hours of battery life.
That isn’t quite bad after all. So, we’d confidently crown this as the best laptop for Kali Linux under 1000.
- Great battery life
- Relatively strong graphics card
- Costs under $1,000
- Great display
- Limited viewing angles
- Comes with a TN panel which isn’t as great as IPS
4. Lenovo IdeaPad Y520
If you’ve been scouring various Kali Linux forums, you’ve probably come across suggestions to use Lenovo laptops. Indeed, it seems there’s a special place for Lenovo in the pentesting hall of fame. Or is it? Well, the Lenovo Y520 comes with a powerful FHD display. Its colors are pretty sharp and all images look pretty vibrant.
The viewing angles aren’t so great though they’re certainly better than with the Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS. So, there’s really nothing much to criticize at this point.
Moving on, this machine presents you with a 512GB SSD and 1TB HDD. Your Windows 10 OS will, however, by default be installed in the SSD storage. That means you can save more space on the HDD.
It’s one thing to have a great storage, but without a great performance, any laptop would be nearly useless. A closer look at the Y700 reveals that it comes with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ.
That’s a powerful processor which gets the machine to boot up in less than 10 seconds. In fact, the processor is so powerful that it can handle almost every hardcore task thrown at it – and we think that’s pretty extraordinary.
Compared to the Acer Predator Helios 300 and the Dell Inspiron i5577-7342BLK-PUS, this machine comes with a weaker graphics card. However, we think the GTX 1050Ti is slightly better than the Radeon Pro 560 found in the Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro.
The Y700, however, tops the charts when it comes to sound quality and UX. In fact, its unique placement of speakers does a good job of maximizing sound output.
What’s more? You get a red backlit keyboard which provides 2 levels of brightness. So, this keyboard is a perfect bet for night time use especially when sharing the room with someone else.
And finally, what about its battery life? Well, you can look forward to a minimum of 1.5 hours of battery life. So, it isn’t really that great but not too bad either.
- Powerful JBL speakers
- Provides a great and fast performance
- Sturdy and solid build
- Great port selection
- Its trackpad is quite pathetic and clumsy
- Too heavy
5. Acer Aspire E 15 – Best Budget-Friendly Kali Linux Laptop
Looking for the cheapest laptop for Kali Linux? We’d recommend the Acer Aspire E 15. Although it doesn’t have the bells and whistles seen on other higher-end machines, it offers a perfect balance of features.
For instance, it comes with an 8-th generation Intel Core processor (i5-8250U) which can be turbo-charged to 3.4GHz. As you know, the i5-8250U is one of the best processors to have ever come out of Intel’s warehouses.
So, in terms of performance, this minimalistic unit seems to have everything it takes to excel.
Moving on, we like the fact that the E 15 comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD display. This is capable of delivering a stellar 1920×1080 resolution. The LED-lit IPS display is also easy on the eye and generally seems of high quality.
As you know, running Kali requires quite a bit of power which also means a greater strain on the RAM. Our biggest worry when putting the Acer Aspire E 15 was that it would probably struggle given that it comes with an 8GB RAM.
Interestingly, though, it seemed to do just fine. That said, it was relatively slow compared to the kinds of speeds you’d get on a MacBook Pro. But for the under $600 price, we still think that the speeds were quite great.
Another awesome attribute of the E15 is that it comes with a 15-hour battery life. That’s just about enough to run you for the whole day when handling basic activities. However, when dealing with hardcore stuff, you may need to keep your charger nearby. On average, this machine delivers 1.5 to 2.5 hours of battery life on Kali.
When it comes to storage, this Core i5 rig provides you with a sweet 256GB SSD capacity. That’s just enough to run you until you’re ready to get a more advanced machine.
As you know, Kali Linux requires a great WiFi connectivity. Well, the good news is that the Aspire E 15 doesn’t compromise on that either. In fact, it features the latest 802.11ac. That guarantees you of a smooth connection that’s 3 times faster than what you’d find in previous laptop generations.
Last but not least, this best low-priced Kali laptop 2018 comes with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card. With a 2GB space for discrete video memory, you get an opportunity to take a leap into an FHD experience.
So, if you’re just getting started in this field, and are having a difficult time making a decision – look no further. This is an awesome machine. In fact, it’s a steal at its price.
- The best-priced deal so far
- Awesome battery life
- Powerful and energy efficient processor
- Freedom to upgrade the hard drive and memory, easily
- Great widescreen display
- The speeds aren’t that impressive
- Not hardy
The MacBook Pro is our overall favorite in this list. However, it’s quite expensive. If you don’t mind about battery life, we’d suggest going for the Acer Predator Helios 300 instead. For those on a tight budget, we’d vouch for the Acer Aspire E 15 which goes for an under $600 budget. Ultimately, you need to understand your preferences, level of experience and budget limits so you can make an informed choice.
Settling for the perfect laptop can sometimes prove hectic due to the long list of features one needs to consider. That’s why we’ve taken the trouble of reviewing the 5 best laptops for Kali Linux in 2018. Hopefully, no matter your budget, you’ll find a laptop that meets your exact needs.